So, Saturday’s nearly here – hopefully, you’ll have already retrieved your Registration Codes from your Member ID’s, the links that you have received in your inbox for the Returning Registration Badge Sale will go live, and you will join the thousands that are prepared to brave the madness and mayhem that is San Diego Comic-Con! Let’s get those badges!
It’s always good to have as much preparation under your belt for such an occasion but you have to remember: so much is out of your control. There’s a lot of fate, a lot of luck and a lot of determination that goes into taking part in these Badge Sales. Sure, you can tip the odds a little in your favour by taking part in a Badge Team – a small collective of like-minded con buddies, all with each others details and buying for the team – but the randomness of the system, introduced by Comic-Con International and EPIC (now, EXPO Logic) back in 2013, means that it’s probably best to adopt somewhat of a Zen attitude to the whole affair.
Ohmmmmmmmmmm. Now… take a deep breath.
A little more relaxed? Yeah, probably not but, look, we had to try, right? Let’s go through the essentials that it’s best to cover before the whole thing gets under way…
1. Familiarize yourselves with the Process.
Last year, Comic-Con International released a really handy video that walked you through the 2016 Open Online Registration badge buying process – the good news is, with only a couple of slight differences, the process that you’ll go through on Saturday will look remarkably like the one shown in this video. (This year’s Open Online Badge Registration has been announced to be taking place ‘early-to-mid April’. So, if you’re brand new to SDCC or coming back to the convention after a break, that’s the sale for you. This guide? Same setup.)
So, sit back, grab some popcorn and listen to the dulcet tones of Comic-Con Voiceover Man as he guides you through the process. Watch it a couple of times so there’s no big surprises when the Registration Sessions open.
2. Check your browser is up to scratch.
All joking aside, it’s a very good idea to cover all the bases and make sure that the engine under under your particular hood of choice is ready for Comic-Con.. The good news is, there’s a page that allows to to check the status of your browser. Click on it now, give your window to the Real World a test drive…
3. Have your Registration Code ready.
The Registration Code is a method of making sure that only actual 2016 Attendees can take part in the Badge Sale with verification of a code, assigned to each Member ID that can take part in Saturday’s badge sale.
The Registration Code is something you will need to enter the Waiting Room, it has not been emailed to you with the link, so do head to your Member ID page and you’ll find it in the Registration Info tab. Copy and paste that into your Notepad doc. What, you don’t have a Notepad doc open? Well, that’s checklist point No. 4…!
4. Have ALL your details to hand.
Member ID. Registration Code. Your credit card details. (Surname? Maybe, if your name is rather convoluted and there’s a little too much stress blood in your head right now.) If you’re taking part in a Badge Team (more on this in a bit), have the details of your compatriots to hand, too, such as their Surnames and Member ID’s. It’s good to have this in a doc you can easily refer to on screen, even copy-and-paste to make sure to don’t mistype a stray number.
“But, how can I easily have these to hand if I’m using a mobile device?”, I hear you cry. And then you feel me clip you round the ear because CCI have advised that you use a laptop/desktop browser, instead of a tablet or phone.
5. Badge Teaming – get it together.
‘Get it together.’ Get it? Because you’re coming together and you’re going to get badges – together. Go Team! But, to make the team work well, you need to have everything in place, such a credit card with available funds for all the rest of your teammates, along with all of their details (and that’s where that Notepad doc comes in handy).
Also, communication is key – either set up a Facebook Messenger Chat or a conference chat on mobile text. When a member gets in to the Badge Sale process, the rest of the team needs to know so that, if they get in too, they’re not going to put in your details for a second time, invalidating the form. And you don’t want that to happen, right? Keep everyone on the same page and things will run so much smoothly.
6. Keep your eyes open. You’re not alone.
Comic-Con are going to be updating their Twitter feed regularly over the next couple of hours. They’re going to be refreshing their ‘yellow box’ of info in the Waiting Room. There’s going to be plenty of people, doing their best to keep you up to date with our Twitters – including us! There’s the #RETREG2017 hashtag to keep an eye on. Hell, if you’re confident with your bandwidth wherever you are, you can even check in with The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog’s live hangout which will run live during the whole she-bang from 8.30am PT (probably best to watch that on a different device than the one you’re doing your badge purchase on, yeah…? Yeah…!)
The point is: you’re not the only one going through this today and, while there isn’t a way to keep a track on how everyone’s doing in the ‘queue’ any more, you can still find out how everything’s progressing, in real time. God knows, there’s going to be enough people talking about how things are going! Don’t forget: #BeTheCheerio!
7. Don’t rush – you’ll only trip up over yourself.
You know when you’re at the airport check-in and everyone is crowding around the desk, jostling for position, kicking, punching, biting? Maybe that is what happened with the Badge Sales, back when it was ‘first-come, first-in’. But now, with the random drawing and selection of groups into the Sale process, that’s all out of the window. So, relax: the last thing you need to do is panic. No need to enter the Waiting Room bang on 9am – you’ve got an hour to do so and nobody gets preference to when you click on that link. Get a cup of tea. Toast some crumpets. Take a breath, until you’re entered into the badge buying process, after 9am PT/12 Midday ET/5pm GMT. Speaking of which…
8. You’re in! Now… Relax.
Once you’re in the Badge Registration process, you have FIFTEEN MINUTES to get through all the forms and finish everything up. Don’t worry, the badges that are available when you entered the Session are locked in, you’re not going to lose them. So, hey, think of it this way: what else can you do? Slow down, take a breath – there’s no need to rush through the forms any more, thinking the badges are going to vanish in front of your very eyes. Even if you are the slowest typist on the planet, fifteen minutes should prove plenty of time for you to enter your details, check and double-check – hey, even triple-check if you’re impressively anal. Best get it right, yeah? Well, chill out for a spell – you have the time to do that.
9. If the Comic-Con Gods don’t shine down on you this time round… There is another chance.
Yes, there may be tears, wails and the gnashing of teeth – it’s entirely possible that, with all the preparation in the world, you may not get the badges you’re after in this attempt. Bugger! However, this is something you may have to accept is on the cards: sheer numbers dictate that not everyone is going to be a winner. This time round, that is.
After all, there is the Open Online Badge Registration Sale on the horizon and, whether you didn’t get the full enchilada of a consolidated badge and missed out on the blessed glory that is Preview Night, or lucked out completely, you will be eligible to have a crack at the rest of the available badges ‘early-to-mid April’. Think positive. What else can you do? Well…
10. An-nnnnnnnnnnd done – for better or worse.
By the time all the dust has settled, you’ll either have badges under your belt – or, regrettably, not. If it’s the latter, don’t throw yourself from the nearest bridge just yet – I’d even recommend hitting San Diego anyway. The way that Comic-Con has evolved in recent years has meant that the entire city has become a full convention in its own right, there’s simply no way for you not to discover something exciting and fascinating to entice you in every corner of San Diego. Take a trip, have a blast.
Yeah, you not buying that last one either, right? Well, I tried!
Best of luck, everybody.